Running-Best of 2011

MissZippy and Amanda at RuntotheFinish posted a great list of questions!  I thought they were fun, so here are my answers.

Best race experience?  TEXAS INDEPENDENCE RELAY.  203 miles of fun.  My first long distance relay (more than a marathon relay anyhow)


Best new piece of gear? BROOKS TRANCE SHOES.  I finally broke down and tried something new.  Hated them at first because they were SO different than what I was used to.  Now i’m in love.  Thinking about putting away the Asics Kayanos for good.  Can’t wait for the new ones to come out.

Best piece of running advice you received?  You know your limits.  Use your regular brain, NOT runner’s brain

Most inspirational runner? This one is hard, because there are so many.  Really, I am thinking Lisa at Early Morning Run.  I didn’t discover her story or her blog until late in the year, but she has a great spirit, despite her injuries and obstacles

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?  CHALLENGING.  The health issues this year have been a learning experience.  Somehow by the grace of God, I have not had my health hinder and of the races.  But there have been a few where i’ve held back and been cautious (like RNR San Antonio and Run for the Lions half).

I am optimistic that 2012 will be a good year mentally and physically.  I am determined to figure out my health issues and improve myself all around 🙂


Half marathon with my mom and sister….take two. 

Hopefully better weather conditions than Dallas Whiterock a few weeks ago.   Although the last 2 years haven’t been favorable.  Last year was unseasonably warm and humid with muggy drizzle.  Two years ago was the high winds that kept delaying the race because all of the barricades were blowing over.

I am surprised my sister wanted to do another, I am thinking my mom conned her into it 😉  1 month from tomorrow!

Things I like Thursday: Slow-Cooker successes

I bought a new crock-pot right before Thanksgiving at Costco.  Finally.  The old one was small and had no handle.  I was shoving foil into the hole where the handle used to be, so the heat wouldn’t escape.  I had to use a fork to pick the lid up.  Super ghetto, I know.

I bought a shiny new black programmable version.  I didn’t realize just how big it was though!  Twice the size of my old one, oops!  Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it needs to be full to cook correctly, so that means cooking bigger quantities.  (maybe i’ll restock some of my freezer stash).

Needless to say, I love it.  I have used my crockpot more in the last month than I have in the last year!  Now that I have a programmable version, I can cook during the day.  Before I couldn’t, because I was gone for too many hours during the day.  Now, I can have to switch to warm when it’s done. (I haven’t tried cooking anything yet while i’ve been away). 

I made Caveman Chili a couple of weeks ago with venison.  It was awesome.  My parents both loved it as well.  Effortless and tasty.  It wasn’t pretty food, but it was good and easy.  I plan on making it again in the next few weeks. 

This was my first attempt EVER cooking Salmon.  I’ve always been scared of it for some reason.  I mostly just used the method in this recipe Jamaican Jerk SalmonI used Penzey’s Jamaican Jerk Seasoning I got in my stocking (which is good, but sadly not spicy).  It turned out really well!  Who knew?  Fish in the crockpot is easy and no smelly mess!  Served it with spinach and veggie skewers which were roasted in EVOO with more jerk seasoning.

Before the crock-pot:


Pulled Meat

Why am I calling it Pulled Meat?  Well funny.  I told my mom to ask my dad for a 2-3 pound pork shoulder.  (they have 2 freezers full of meat and other random food, I think they are food hoarders).  Plus my dad hunts, so there is often deer and pork.  I take the piece of meat he thawed for me, rubbed it the day before and put in the fridge.  Then cooked it on low 10 hours (my piece was half the size as what the recipe called for, but took 10 hours to cook).  Used Stubb’s BBQ sauce because it’s simple and Gluten Free.  Mom, dad, sister, and I were all raving about how it was SOOO good.  Best pulled pork ever.  My dad looked at me crazy and told me it was venison (communication breakdown I suppose).  Well heck, no wonder it was so lean and took longer to cook!  It was still very tasty and I will be making it again.

Big-Easy meatloaf was certainly not pretty food, so not pretty I deleted the photos.  It was awfully tasty though.  I didn’t have andouille, so I used hot italian sausage.  Super easy and I never would have thought to put a dish in the crockpot to cook something in.

I’m sure this won’t be the last of my crockpot adventures 😉


Or lack there of…

Last Thursday when I got to the gym, they announced they had to cut the electricity for 20 minutes.  I guess they expected most people to leave, all of the people doing cardio and spin class did.  I was lifting weights so I stuck around, you don’t need electricity for weights 😉  It was actually kind of nice for it to be mostly dark and workout.  They were turned back on, I got showered up and went to work.

Later that day (5 hrs later), I had my Endocrinologist appointment.  I was late leaving a meeting at work, so I was frantically rushing to get to the hospital.  I was so aggrevated, because I am never late!  Elevators out of service, so I had to run to the Main Wing, up the stairs, and back to the South Wing.  Good thing I’m in shape.  Guess what?  No power, just emergency lights.  They didn’t know I was late because the computers were down.  They also had no access to people’s files to call and cancel and reschedule appointments.  Or access to the electronic medical files to try to hold appointments.  I was told I could call back after Christmas and reschedule.  Unfortunately my Dr. has a long wait list.

She must have overheard me talking to the receptionist, because she came and got me and had an impromptu appointment with me with post-it notes in the hallway.  Hope that stuff actually makes it into my file.  She didn’t have my file or test results, so we just briefly chatted.  It was better than nothing, but I was really eager to see if she wanted to try more tests or had any ideas.  She did say, that at this point, she does not think it’s Cushing’s.

Later that day, the really sweet marathoner Rheumotoligst called to see how my appointment went with the Endo and get an update on what was going on.  Unfortunately I had no updates for him 😦

Fast forward to Christmas morning.  We didn’t have power from 7:30-11 am at my parents house.   I guess it went out right after I left for my hill run, I came home and my mom and sister were ready for their run, so I went with them.  My dad had to drive our turkey to a family friend’s house to continue cooking it.  Rediculous.  Even more crazy is they have power outages all of the time at their house, it’s so annoying.  The last 4 times i’ve been there, there has either been a water or electric outage or both!

I have no idea why electricity was such an issue last week, but I hope I don’t have that problem any more!  I guess I always take it for granted and don’t realize what all we need it for. (like getting back from running on Christmas and having to settle for a banana and almond butter because mom didn’t want me in the fridge which had been off for almost 2 hours).

Despite the minor inconveniences, it all worked out in the end with the power outages.  Now i’m just waiting for the Endo to call me back to tell me what to do next.  Hoping she transferred the notes to the computer after we met.  I WILL figure all of this out in 2012!

Twas the night before Christmas

The weather outside was frightful.  Or at least it was starting at 7 am.  I woke up about 5:30 tried to get my dad up to go hunting, but he is certainly not a fan of early mornings, so I got dressed to run, but then it was storming.  I read blogs and caught up on emails instead.

When mom and sister woke up, we drove to Hondo to put flowers at my grandma and grandpa’s grave and to take Christmas stuffed animals to the county hospital.  I was glad the 3 of us were able to spend the morning together.

Next thing we knew, it was time to go to church.  We took photos at the square after church was over.  It had stopped raining, but it was 30 degrees and a bit nippy!

Our family does all of our Christmas traditions on Christmas eve.  Church, tamales, gifts, movies.

Our Christmas Eve meal usually consists of veggie tray, dips, queso, tortilla chips, tamales (we had chicken and beef).  This year we also had garlic parmesan Chex mix (off the back of the box), gluten-free too.

The tamales didn’t stand a chance.  They are actually from Central Market, Ramiro Brand.  The company is based out of Houston.  Lard and Gluten Free.  They come in chicken, pork, or beef.  Mom and I found them last year and I love them!

Gift time!

My sister really wanted to try Brooks, so I got her new socks, new shoes, and some other running goodies.  Her Asics were giving her issues, so she got fitted again and opted for 1 of the 2 pairs of Brooks they recommended.

Dad got a game dressing kit from me with a neat sheath to put on your belt, however, of 4 mornings, he rejected my requests to go hunting.  We did go twice in the PM, but the conditions weren’t favorable either evening. Maybe I should have given him his gift earlier, to motivate him to wake up earlier.

We rented Our Idiot Brother and Crazy, Stupid, Love.  I’d already seen the first one, but I watched it anyhow.  I fell asleep as soon as the 2nd movie started.  What can I say?  I woke up 3 hours before my mom and sister and 5 hours before the guys.

Nice day with the family, but I started missing Dan.  We’ve never spent a Christmas together, and it doesn’t bother me for the most part, but I always start missing him when I am sitting alone in church.  I know he only gets to see his family once a year, so it’s a necessary trip for him to make.  Glad he’s able to enjoy the time with them, even if it’s short.

Merry Christmas!  Hope everyone has a joyous holiday with their family and friends!

Fun on Friday: Christmas Survey

Saw this quite a few places in Blog-land, so I decided to give it a whirl 😉

Eggnog or hot chocolate?  Hot chocolate.  I’ve actually never had eggnog or the desire to try it

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?  wrapped, always

Colored lights on tree/house or white?  White

Do you hang mistletoe?  No.  I did when I was a kid, mostly because I thought it was funny to go pick something poisonous off of a tree and bring it home to mom

When do you hang your decorations up?  Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving usually.  Dan has a rule, no Christmas in the house during Thanksgiving

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?  tamales

Favorite holiday memory as a child?  Opening presents on Christmas eve

What is on your Christmas wish list?  Nothing really, i’m actually not a fan of Christmas gifts for myself or other adults, i’d rather do something together or do something for others.  Gift cards are always a default for me

Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?  Yes, always.  We do everything but Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.  Church, gifts, etc are all on Christmas Eve.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?  White lights, Texas/Country/Rustic decor.  I started that tree in college

Snow? Love it or dread it?  I’ve seen snow twice in my life ever.  1984 and Feb 2011. 

Real tree or fake tree?  Fake.  Everyone in my family is allergic.  I have Yankee Candles that smell like a tree for the smell, lol

Do you remember your favorite gift?  Probably the David Yurman necklace Dan bought me from the jeweler in Jamaica we visited the year before (can’t believe he ordered something from Jamaica for Christmas).  That was maybe 4 or 5 years ago.  I rarely wear it and never on a gym day, I am scared someone will steal it.

What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? love and family

What is your favorite holiday dessert?  Not really sure, I love sweets, but I can’t eat most of the stuff I used to.  I do love a good piece of high quality homemade chocolate candy

What is your favorite tradition?  Christmas Eve.  Church, tamales, gifts.  That or St. Nick on December 5

What tops your tree?  Star with turquoise stones

Do you prefer giving or receiving?  giving

What is your favorite Christmas song? Not sure I really have one.  I do like Blue Christmas

Candy canes, yuck or yum?  Not really a fan but I do like peppermint flavor

Favorite Christmas movie?  Family Vacation

What do you leave for Santa?  Nothing, never did, even as a kid. 

Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? Nope.  We don’t really do much on Christmas except for Christmas lunch/dinner.  For the last 5-6 years, I run first thing in the morning

Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?  I hate the mall and I rarely go there.  I shop wherever I can get whatever gifts i’ve selected.  Usually they are at independent stores.  This year I did mostly online (mom and sister) and at Cabela’s in person for dad.

Christmas letter or Christmas card?  card, although they seem to be a thing of the past.

Now you take a turn;-)

Bump in the road

Tuesday started off well.  Went to the gym for a little interval training and some weights.

I had meetings from 9-2.  Boss called a special meeting before the 9 am, which was weird, because we were all meeting again at 11:30 for a holiday function.  Something was up.  Yup.  She’s leaving (just our office, not our agency).  I cried.  #1 rule of mine, no crying at work.

So yesterday most of my team was zombies, everyone in shock.  Wasn’t feeling festive at our holiday function at all.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that someone on my team will interview for it and get the job.  I was asked to interview for it, but I have zero desire to hold that position. 

Went to a Weight Watchers meeting after work but got there 45 minutes early.  I bonded with the leader, who I previously didn’t have a connection with.  That was nice 🙂  Turns out she has several auto-immune disorders and has a great Doctor, so I may try this guy out if I need to.

Speaking of Doctors, I have my follow-up with the Endo tomorrow at noon.  I fully expect her to say she doesn’t know where to go from here 😦  If that is the case, I plan on trying to get referred to someone else.  I am going to keep trying until I get answers.

With all that happened yesterday, I’ll admit, I was in a funk, although the WW meeting made me feel a little better.  But on the way home, I unloaded my day’s frustrations to Dan on the phone in a rant.  Poor guy.  I guess I got most of it out though, because all was well when I walked into a spotless house 🙂  Yes, I paid someone to clean it and it was worth every single penny.  Not only did it save me time, but it was just what I needed to come home to yesterday 🙂

The gift of sisterhood

Saturday after I took a spin class, I met up with my sister and my BFF (aka Mrs. Educator of the year) for a girls day in Salado. 

While I was gone, I missed saying goodbye to Dan.  Ooops 😦  He left for Alabama on Saturday afternoon for 11 days.  He’ll be back for a few, then his annual ski trip, then a business trip.  Maybe I’ll see him in Feb?

This was my 2nd trip out there, it’s about 45 minutes away.  Don’t ask why i’d never been before September of this year.  It’s shopping and food fun (kind of like Gruene). 

We had lunch at Adelea’s on Main. I went in to read the menu first, because it’s a tea room, which almost always means tons of sandwiches.  Yes, they had those, but they also had GF bread!  I finally ended up being brave and trying my first Gluten Free sandwich at a restaurant.  It was stellar!  It also helped that the bread was some of the best i’ve ever had, GF or not!  It was grainy and seedy and I LOVED it.

I opted for the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Tandoori sandwich.  It was divine.  The bread comes from Serious Sourdough bakery in Lampassas.  They make GF and regular breads. 

Loved the place, I told Dan later that evening when he called, that we have to go out there one afternoon and have lunch there (he’s never been to Salado).

Then more shopping and us being goofballs.  Nothing like being silly in a really expensive boutique, lol.

What was supposed to be 10-2, turned into 10-4.  Oops!  What can I say?  We were having too much fun!

Saturday was just what I wanted.  No gifts, just fun with the girls and making memories 🙂

The best gift

Isn’t the kind that you put on a list or see under a tree…

If  you know me, you know I am not a big fan of Christmas gifts.  In fact, my whole family has scaled WAY back from what we used to do (think Oprah’s favorite things show, my mom used to go bonkers before my dad retired).  Now we keep it simple (we started in 2004).  I tried to promote no gifts or 1 family gift (because none of us need any more “stuff”), but that got shot down a long time ago.   So we still do gifts in the immediate family, but with price limits.

Dan and I for the last few years have done a small St. Nick, but not Christmas.  Instead, we’ve opted to make someone else’s holiday brighter.  This year we “adopted” a family through his company.  We had a great time buying for the kids (boy-5 and girl-10), really wish i’d taken photos.  Broke my heart that they wanted basic necessities like a warm hat, a baseball,  and clothes.  Hopefully they will enjoy the clothes, toys, and goodies we bought them.

We also usually do a really nice dinner date before he leaves for Alabama.  This year wasn’t so fancy and we weren’t alone.  We met a couple we know for dinner at Santa Rita, which is one of my favorite local trendy mexican restaurants.  We had a great time.  Good friends, good company, and some good news from them.  Makes my heart happy.

I do have 1 gift left to buy/do.  I’m going to try to head over to the Williamson County Humane Society this afternoon for their open house (and try not to cry, gosh it’s hard for me to be around shelters).  I’ve decided to sponsor a Kitty Kondo for the year.  If I can’t have any more pets (Dan’s verdict), then maybe I can help one I can’t adopt.

The best gifts are certainly the ones that help others and give you a happy feeling in your heart 🙂